Clovis Unified psychologists unionize. Are teachers next?
Clovis Unified School District, the last large school district in California without an educators union, now has one to represent its school psychologists and mental health staff.
Forty-nine of the 71 district mental health professionals who participated in the election voted to join the Association of Clovis Educators, formed in June by teachers, psychologists, counselors and others. The association is affiliated with the California Teachers Association and National Education Association. The vote was announced by the Public Employment Relations Board in Sacramento on Friday.
The Association of Clovis Educators is continuing efforts to unionize teachers, who are currently represented by a faculty senate.
The mental health workers began organizing during the pandemic, using Zoom, Facebook, texts, emails and podcasts to build support, according to a news release from the California Teachers Association. They felt they were being left out of district decision-making, according to the release.
“Today, we can say what we’ve long known: that Clovis can still be Clovis while also being a union district,” said Kristin Heimerdinger, a Buchanan High School teacher and ACE spokesperson. “We are thrilled with today’s vote. This is a victory for ACE, for our school psychologists and mental health support professionals, and for students. It is also a building block for our ongoing organizing efforts of more than 2,100 educators, which will continue.”
Barry Jage, the district’s associate superintendent of human resources and employee relations, released a statement saying the district appreciates and supports the work of its 7,000 employees, including psychologists and mental health professionals.
“We have worked specifically with this group in recent years to increase staffing and add services to best support our students and remain committed to our district’s long history of valuing the voices of our employees and working with their representative groups for the benefit of our students,” Jager said.